The Bruins take on the Maple Leafs Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto but before tonight’s game squad (lineup below) took off for Toronto, Julien told the media that there were a lot of positives that came out of the game Tuesday, especially the play of Max Sauve, Zach Hamill and goaltender Tukka Rask.
“We saw a lot of good things from everyone,” Julien said. “Some of the young guys, Max Sauve specifically, who scored the winning goal and Tukka [Rask] was extremely good in net. Zach Hamill of course had a goal and played well. Overall it was a good effort.”
Sauve apparently surprised the reigning NHL Coach of the Year with his tenacious style and faceoff capability.
“I thought maybe he showed a little more than what we expected, good around the nets and he led the team in faceoffs, so we liked what we saw of him,” Julien said.
When notified of his coach’s compliments, Sauve had a big smile.
“I’m honored to hear that,” Sauve said. “But I can’t get caught up with the goal. I need to keep back-checking and doing little things. That’s what I was happy with.”
When asked to elaborate on Hamill, the Bruins first-round pick (eighth overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Julien said the Bruins are impressed with the size he’s added but he still needs to get bigger. For now it’s just about him improving his competitive evel and doing the little things to gain or keep control of the puck.
“Hamill made some great plays and continued what he started at the rookie camp,” Julien said of the 20-year old forward who had 26 points in 65 games with the Providence Bruins last season. “We don’t expect players like Zach that are not bangers to bang, we just expect them to compete.
"For players like Hamill, Sauve and the same thing I used to say to Phil Kessel, we just want you to go into the corners, and not really put the guy through the boards but compete for the puck and win that battle. It’s about being strong on your stick and winning those battles for loose pucks.”
Julien believes Hamill is doing all of that, but he still thinks the youngster has a ways to go before he is strong enough and big enough to play regularly in the NHL.
“He knows it, we know it; he has to continue to get stronger. From last year to this year he has made amazing progress but unfortunately he needs to continue to improve in that area to play at the level of these games up here.”
As far as Rask was concerned, Julien was very happy with the Finnish netminder’s 31-save performance and like the technical side of his game.
“He’s done what we asked him to do,” Julien said. “He seems to be getting a little bit stronger but still can improve in that area. He’s positioned well and he’s always been a calm goaltender so that helps. He’s poised and everything that he stops looks easy because he’s in the right position. He was strong on the puck and controlled rebounds. I thought it was a real strong showing in his case.”
But once again, Julien warned that by no means has Rask already secured the back-up spot behind Tim Thomas.
“I hope so because it’s pretty clear to me that it’s not a given,” Julien said. “I think we’ve all come in here thinking that we’d like to se him do well, but there’s another guy here [Dany] Sabourin that wants to do the same thing and we’ve promised him the same thing and that’s a fair chance and we’re not going to break that promise, so we’ve made it pretty clear that it’s a competition and may the best man win. Tukka has played well enough though to make a good case for himself and hopefully Sabourin can do the same for himself tonight.”
Here is the Bruins lineup for Wednesday night's preseason matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs:
Forwards: Steve Begin, Patrice Bergeron, Drew Larman, Jeff LoVecchio, Michael Ryder, Shawn Thornton, Jamie Arniel, Byron Bitz, Guillaume Lefebvre, Brad Marchand, Vladimir Sobotka, Blake Wheeler
Defensemen: Derek Morris, Mark Stuart, Dennis Wideman, Andy Wozniewski, Matt Hunwick, Adam McQuaid
Goaltenders: Tuukka Rask, Dany Sabourin